Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH – Get Rating) was the recipient of a significant drop in short interest in December. As of December 30th, there was short interest totalling 735,700 shares, a drop of 5.6% from the December 15th total of 779,300 shares. Approximately 1.4% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 371,300 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.0 days.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on ASH shares. StockNews.com upgraded Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 21st. UBS Group boosted their target price on Ashland from $131.00 to $135.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 11th. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft boosted their price objective on Ashland from $120.00 to $125.00 in a research note on Wednesday, November 9th. Wells Fargo & Company upped their target price on Ashland from $104.00 to $118.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 9th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upped their target price on Ashland from $120.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 8th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the company presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $130.29.
Institutional Investors Weigh In On Ashland
Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Credit Suisse AG increased its holdings in Ashland by 4.9% in the 2nd quarter. Credit Suisse AG now owns 47,669 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $4,912,000 after buying an additional 2,221 shares during the period. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in Ashland by 35.0% in the 2nd quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 5,112 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $527,000 after purchasing an additional 1,324 shares during the period. Dupont Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in Ashland in the 2nd quarter worth about $240,000. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in Ashland by 2,554.9% in the 2nd quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 6,770 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $698,000 after purchasing an additional 6,515 shares during the period. Finally, Treasurer of the State of North Carolina raised its holdings in shares of Ashland by 12.9% during the second quarter. Treasurer of the State of North Carolina now owns 21,425 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,208,000 after acquiring an additional 2,450 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 92.21% of the company’s stock.
Ashland Stock Up 1.4 %
Ashland (NYSE:ASH – Get Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 7th. The basic materials company reported $1.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.39 by $0.07. Ashland had a net margin of 38.77% and a return on equity of 10.17%. The company had revenue of $631.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $636.10 million. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Ashland will post 6.14 EPS for the current year.
Ashland Dividend Announcement
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 1st were paid a $0.335 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 30th. This represents a $1.34 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.22%. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is currently 8.27%.
Ashland Company Profile
Ashland, Inc engages in the provision of architectural coatings, construction, energy, food and beverage, nutraceuticals, personal care, and pharmaceutical. It operates through the following segments: Life Sciences, Personal Care, Special Additives, and Intermediates. The company was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in Wilmington, DE.
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